With plans to meet amid the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented vaccine rollout, and pressure for World Health Organization reform, this year’s World Health Assembly meeting may be one of the most pressing in recent history. Inequalities in COVID-19 vaccine access, waiving patents, and increasing low- and middle-income countries’ manufacturing capacity are expected to remain hot topics of debate.
We will be on the scene — virtually — to dig into these issues and more over three days of events, with exclusive interviews, expert analysis, and insider coverage of the week’s most important conversations.
From May 25 to 27, and in a special Devex Pro event on June 1, we will bring you inside the 74th World Health Assembly to answer key questions such as:
-How can the world better respond to the next pandemic?
-What more can be done to ensure an effective and equitable vaccine rollout?
-Does the world need a different alert system for global health emergencies?
-What is the future of WHO amid funding woes?
-With all eyes on COVID-19, what happens to other health priorities?
Opening remarks with Devex reporters, Vince Chadwick and Jenny Lei Ravelo
Fireside Chat: Preparing for the next pandemic with IPPR co-chair, Helen Clark and Devex reporter, Jenny Lei Ravelo
Panel: A deep dive into the Independent Panel's recommendations
-Dr. Ambrose Talisuna, regional advisor, IHR & global health security, WHO Africa
-Chandrika Bahadur, director, SDG Academy
Gabrielle Fitzgerald, co-founder, Pandemic Action Network
-Moderator: Jenny Lei Ravelo, reporter, Devex
Spotlight: How health systems are being strengthened through data to become more predictive with Novartis Foundation head, Dr. Ann Aerts and Devex reporter, Catherine Cheney
In partnership with Novartis Foundation
Spotlight: The role of essential diagnostics in managing NCDs with the director of alliance development, HemoCue, Lena Wahlhed and Devex president & editor-in-chief, Raj Kumar
In partnership with HemoCue
Panel: What makes mRNA technology a potential game changer for global health?
-Helen Fletcher, professor in immunology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
-Dr. Jerome Kim, director general, International Vaccine Institute
-Moderator: Rumbi Chakamba, associate editor, Devex
Closing remarks with Devex reporters, Vince Chadwick and Jenny Lei Ravelo
Opening remarks with Devex reporters, Vince Chadwick and Amruta Byatnal
Fireside chat: Combatting vaccine misinformation with London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine professor of anthropology, risk and decision science Dr. Heidi Larson
Spotlight: Vaccinating the world with AstraZeneca CEO, Pascal Soriot and Devex president & editor-in-chief, Raj Kumar
In partnership with AstraZeneca
Panel: Lessons learned from the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Africa
- Anstes Agnew, head of health systems at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change
-Hon. Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, Minister Of Health, Ghana
-Dr. Richard Mihigo, immunization and vaccine development programme coordinator at WHO Regional Office for Africa
-Dr. Austin Demby, Minister of Health and Sanitation, Sierra Leone
-Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana, director general of the Rwanda Biomedical Centre
-Moderator: Sara Jerving, reporter, Devex
Fireside chat: The battle over COVID-19 vaccine IP rights with IFPMA director general, Thomas Cueni, medical activist and lawyer, Ellen t'Hoen and Devex reporter, Amruta Byatnal
Closing remarks with Devex reporters, Vince Chadwick and Amruta Byatnal
Opening remarks with Devex reporters, Vince Chadwick and Jenny Lei Ravelo
Fireside chat: Building capacity in LMICs with Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) CEO Richard Hatchett
Panel: Strengthening the WHO
-Amanda Glassman, executive vice president and director for global health policy, Center for Global Development
-Björn Kümmel, deputy head of the division global health, Germany's Federal Ministry of Health
-Suerie Moon, co-director, Global Health Centre, Graduate Institute of International & Development Studies
-Jenny Lei Ravelo, senior reporter, Devex
Spotlight: Expanding access to medicines: lessons from a pharmaceutical company with Gilead Chief Commercial Officer, Johanna Mercier
In partnership with Gilead
Fireside Chat: Health Systems of the Future: What We’ve Learned from COVID
-Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, vice chancellor, University of Global Health Equity
-Prashant Yadav, senior fellow, Center for Global Development
-Raj Kumar, president & editor-in-chief, Devex
Closing remarks with Devex reporters, Vince Chadwick and Jenny Lei Ravelo
Opening remarks with Devex Pro editor, Jessica Abrahams
Roundtable: Inside the WHA
-Amruta Byatnal, associate editor, Devex
-Jenny Lei Ravelo, senior reporter, Devex
-Vince Chadwick, Brussels correspondent, Devex
-Jessica Abrahams, Pro editor, Devex
Fireside chat: The state of play in global health with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation senior strategy advisor and interim director for the China country office, Steve Davis
Dr. Ann Aerts is Head of the Novartis Foundation, an organization committed to transform the health of low-income populations, by leveraging the power of data, digital technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to reimagine health and care around the world. Passionate about improving population health through data, digital and AI, Ann applies her relentless commitment to overcoming health inequities to pioneer solutions that can advance health and care globally. Ann chairs the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development Working Group on Digital and AI in Health and is a member of the International Advisory Board of the Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health.
Anstes Agnew is currently the Head of Health Systems at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change and a Governance Advisor for TBI's Rwanda team — working with the government on smart data management for the effective rollout of Covid-19 vaccines. Before this, she was the Health Financing Manager for the Clinton Health Access Initiative and Advisor for the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning in Liberia as well as for the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator at the U.S. Department of State.
Kwaku Agyeman Manu is a Member of Parliament (MP) for Dormaa Central in the Bono Region of Ghana. He has been MP for Dormaa West and Central for two terms and now serving his 3rd term. Kwaku Agyeman Manu is a highly skilled professional and politician. He is the Minister for Health for the Republic of Ghana and also the Board Chairman for the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) headquartered in Geneva. He has quite recently been elected as an alternate member of GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation) He served as Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Interior, Finance, Roads and Transport, Transport and Communication and also served briefly as the Ag. Chief Executive of the National Health Insurance Authority. He was elected an MP for Dormaa Central Constituency when his party went into opposition.
Chandrika Bahadur is the Director of the SDG Academy and Vice President of Education at the UN SDSN. She is also Chair of the Lancet Commission on COVID 19 India Task Force. Previously, she was President of SDSN Association. From 2008-2011, she was advisor to the Chairman and Managing Director at Reliance Industries, where she helped set up Reliance Foundation. From 2001-2008, Chandrika worked with the United Nations in different roles. In her last assignment, she was a Policy Advisor at UNDP’s Bureau for Development Policy in New York, working in Africa to help Ministries of Finance and Planning align their strategies to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), across 20 countries. From 2003-2006, she was part of the leadership team of the UN Millennium Project, an advisory group convened by the then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to recommend strategies for the MDGs. She has prior teaching experience at Harvard and Columbia Universities.
Professor Agnes Binagwaho, MD, M(Ped), PHD currently resides in Rwanda and is the Vice Chancellor and co-founder of the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE), an initiative of Partners In Health. She is a Rwandan pediatrician, who returned to Rwanda in the late 1990s. She worked for 20 years in the public health sector in Rwanda, first as a clinician in public hospitals for four years. Afterwards, she worked in various high-level government positions between 2002 and 2016, serving first as the Executive Secretary of Rwanda's National AIDS Control Commission, then as the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, and lastly as the Minister of Health for five years.
Helen Clark was Prime Minister of New Zealand for three successive terms from 1999–2008. She was the first woman to become Prime Minister following a General Election in New Zealand and the second woman to serve as Prime Minister. In April 2009, Helen Clark became Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme. She was the first woman to lead the organisation, and served two terms there. At the same time, she was Chair of the United Nations Development Group, a committee consisting of all UN funds, programmes, agencies, and departments working on development issues. As Administrator, she led UNDP to be ranked the most transparent global development organisation. She completed her tenure in April 2017.
Thomas B. Cueni is Director General of IFPMA, the global association of pharmaceutical research companies, based in Geneva and is Secretary of the global Biopharmaceutical CEO Roundtable (BCR). In this capacity, Thomas Cueni was instrumental in creating the AMR Action Fund. A ground-breaking partnership, launched in 2020, that has raised nearly $1 billion to bring 2-4 new antibiotics to patients by 2030. These treatments are urgently needed to address the rapid rise of antibiotic-resistant infections – also called antimicrobial resistance, or AMR.
Steve Davis is a senior strategic advisor and the interim Director, China Country Office, at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He is also a lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, a Distinguished Fellow at the World Economic Forum, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He serves as co-chair of the World Health Organization’s Digital Health Technical Advisory Group and is a member of numerous boards and advisory committees, including The Trinity Challenge and Philanthropy University. He is the former president & CEO of PATH, a leading global health innovation organization; former Director of Social Innovation at McKinsey & Company, a global consultancy; former CEO of Corbis, a digital media pioneer; and former attorney at the law firm now known as K&L Gates. He holds degrees from Princeton University, University of Washington and Columbia Law School, and also studied at Beijing University. He speaks and writes regularly about the intersection of innovation, technology and social impact, and has extensive experience working with China. He is the author of the book Undercurrents: Channeling Outrage to Spark Practical Activism (Wiley, October 2020). He lives with his family in Seattle, Washington.
Dr. Austin Demby was appointed as the Minister of Health and Sanitation in Sierra Leone on January 18, 2021. Demby is a renowned US-based medical expert with years of experience working for the CDC sister organisation Health Resources and Services Administration. He served as the Deputy Director of HRSA’s Office of Global Health and also as the Director of PEPFAR in past. He has tremendous experience working in health systems in Lower and Middle Income Countries (LMICs).
Gabrielle Fitzgerald is the founder and CEO of Panorama and co-Founder of Pandemic Action Network. Her vision is to create action-oriented partnerships, influence decision-makers, and facilitate conversations that lead to meaningful collaboration and change for people and planet. With over 20 years of experience in philanthropy, global advocacy, resource mobilization, global health, and coalition-building, Gabrielle has become a leading voice on catalytic philanthropy, women’s leadership, and pandemic preparedness and response. She serves as president of the board of United for Global Mental Health. Previously, Gabrielle held leadership positions at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, U.S. Agency for International Development, and served as a speechwriter for President Clinton at The White House.
Helen Fletcher is Professor of Immunology and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. With more than 20 years experience in Tuberculosis vaccine development from pre-clinical to phase I and II safety studies and clinical efficacy trials her research interests include tuberculosis (TB) immunology, global health, vaccine development, and immune correlates of risk. She is a member of the BMGF Collaboration for TB Vaccine Development (CTVD) and was part of the European Commission funded Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (TBVI) TBVAC consortium.
Amanda Glassman is executive vice president and senior fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD) and also serves as chief executive officer of CGD Europe. Her research focuses on priority-setting, resource allocation and value for money in global health, as well as data for development. Prior to her current position, she served as director for global health policy at CGD from 2010 to 2016, and has more than 25 years of experience working on health and social protection policy and programs in Latin America and elsewhere in the developing world, including at the Inter-American Development Bank and Brookings.
Dr. Richard Hatchett is CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a public-private partnership working to create a world in which epidemics and pandemics are no longer a threat to humanity. Hatchett previously served as acting Director of the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), after serving as BARDA’s Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Director. Here, Hatchett oversaw programmes to develop medical countermeasures against pandemic influenza and emerging infectious diseases. He also served on the White House Homeland Security Council under President George W. Bush and was a member of the White House National Security Staff under President Obama.
Ellen ‘t Hoen, LLM PhD, is a lawyer and public health advocate with over 30 years of experience working on pharmaceutical and intellectual property policies. From 1999 until 2009 she was the director of policy for Médecins sans Frontières’ Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines. In 2009 she joined UNITAID in Geneva to set up the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) She was the MPP’s first executive director until 2012. In 2005, 2006, 2010 and 2011 she was listed as one of the 50 most influential people in intellectual property by the journal Managing Intellectual Property. She has worked as an advisor to a number of governments, NGOs and international organisations. She is currently a researcher at the University Medical Centre at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands.
Jerome Kim, M.D., is an international expert on the evaluation and development of vaccines and is the Director General of the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver safe, effective and affordable vaccines for Global Health. Prior, he was the Principal Deputy, US Military HIV Research Program and led the Army’s Phase III HIV vaccine trial that showed modest efficacy in the prevention of HIV-1 infection. Dr. Kim is also an Adjunct Professor, Department of Medicine, Uniformed Services University and at the Graduate School of Public Health, Yonsei University. He has authored over 300 publications. He is a graduate of the University of Hawaii, with high honors in History and highest honors in Biology, and received his M.D. from Yale University School of Medicine.
Björn Kümmel is currently the Senior political advisor on global health affairs at the German Federal Ministry of Health. A lawyer — specializing in international law — by trade, Kümmel has been a German member of the WHO Executive Board since 2018, Vice-Chair of the WHO Executive Board since 2020 and the Chair of the WHO open-ended working group on sustainable finance starting in 2021.
Heidi J. Larson, PhD, is Professor of Anthropology, Risk and Decision Science and is the Founding Director of the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She is also Clinical Professor of Health Metrics Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, USA, and Guest Professor at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. Dr. Larson previously headed Global Immunisation Communication at UNICEF, chaired GAVI’s Advocacy Task Force, and served on the WHO SAGE Working Group on vaccine hesitancy. The VCP is a WHO Centre of Excellence on addressing Vaccine Hesitancy.
Johanna Mercier serves as Gilead's Chief Commercial Officer, with responsibility for the global commercialization of all the company's medicines throughout the product lifecycle. Under her leadership, Gilead works to ensure that patients around the world have access to the company's transformational medicines. Johanna joined Gilead in 2019 after 25 years at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where she served in a number of executive leadership positions, gaining broad experience across geographies and in all aspects of the commercial business. In her time there, she successfully evolved the culture and drove strong commercial execution with double-digit growth and multiple launches that changed the standard of care in melanoma and renal cancers.
Dr. Richard Mihigo is a senior public health specialist with over 25 years of experience in designing, implementing and evaluating disease control programs at national and international levels. He holds a Doctorate degree in Medicine from the University of Kisangani, DR and a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Boston, Massachusetts, USA. He joined WHO in July 2004 and is currently the Immunization & Vaccines Development (IVD) Coordinator at the WHO Regional Office for Africa. He is leading the work of the IVD program in advocacy, communication, and resource mobilization; developing and managing work plans and budgets within the framework of WHO rules and regulations. Part of his responsibilities also includes supporting Member States in establishing and strengthening partnership coordination mechanisms at country and inter-country levels and resource mobilization in support of national immunization programs in the African Region.
Suerie Moon is Co-Director of the Global Health Centre and Professor of Practice in the International Relations/Political Science Department at the Graduate Institute in Geneva. Her research focuses on global governance and health, with a current focus on new business models of pharmaceutical R&D and the global governance of COVID-19. She is the recipient of a career grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation, and serves on several expert advisory bodies, including the Swiss National Covid-19 Science Taskforce and WHO ACT-Accelerator Ethics & Governance Working Group.
Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana holds a Medical Degree (MD) and a Master's Degree in Clinical Epidemiology from the National University of Rwanda; a PhD in Epidemiology from Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute,University of Basel, Switzerland. Fellow at the African Scientific Institute (ASI), Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (FRCP Edin). He is also an Assistant Professor of Global Health at the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE) and teaches Epidemiology and Research Methodology at the University of Rwanda.
Pascal is AstraZeneca Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board and CEO since October 2012. Pascal brings a passion for science and medicine as well as significant experience in established and emerging markets, strength of strategic thinking, a successful track record of managing change and executing strategy, and the ability to lead a diverse organisation. He served as Chief Operating Officer of Roche’s pharmaceuticals division from 2010 to September 2012 and, prior to that, Chief Executive Officer of Genentech, a biologics business, where he led its successful merger with Roche. Pascal joined the pharmaceutical industry in 1986 and has worked in senior management roles in numerous major companies around the world. He is a doctor of veterinary medicine (École Nationale Vétérinaire d’Alfort, Maisons-Alfort) and holds an MBA from HEC, Paris.
Dr. Ambrose Otau Talisuna is a medical doctor, epidemiologist and public health expert in international health. He has worked in diverse health arenas, including communicable disease prevention and control, malaria prevention and control, health information systems, outbreak investigation and response, health systems, health services management, surveillance, monitoring and evaluation for over 25 years at national and international levels.
A Clinical Chemist by education and experience in routine chemistry lab at the Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm. Since 2001, Lena has been working for HemoCue in different global positions and since 2011 she has been responsible for our Corporate Accounts as Director Alliance Development. Lena’s field of interest is in the areas of support to reach the Sustainable Development Goals through access to Essential diagnostics. Lena is committed to driving solutions for enhanced care and well-being of people in demanding climate and challenging conditions, improved workflow for international NGOs with value added focus and customer value in mind. I am also committed to serve customers within the pharma industry to give first class support in clinical trials.
Prashant Yadav is a globally recognized scholar in the area of healthcare supply chains. He is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development, Affiliate Professor at INSEAD and Lecturer at Harvard Medical School. He is the author of many peer-reviewed scientific publications and his work has been featured in prominent print and broadcast media. In addition to his roles in academia and think tank, Prashant serves on the boards of many companies and a venture fund. In his previous roles Prashant has worked as Strategy Leader-Supply Chain at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Vice President of Healthcare at the William Davidson Institute and Faculty at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan; Professor of Supply Chain Management at the MIT-Zaragoza International Logistics Program. He has also provided expert testimony on medical supply chains on multiple occasions in prominent legislative bodies around the world, including the US Congress. Prashant trained as a Chemical Engineer and obtained his PhD in Management Science & Operations Research. He lives in Bethesda, MD in the USA.
Amruta Byatnal is an Associate Editor at Devex based in New Delhi. She reports on global health, gender and human rights. Previously, she worked for News Deeply and The Hindu. She is a graduate of Cornell University where she studied international development.
Vince Chadwick is the Brussels Correspondent for Devex. He covers the EU institutions, member states, and European civil society. A law graduate from Melbourne, Australia, he was social affairs reporter for The Age newspaper, before moving to Europe in 2013. He covered breaking news, the arts and public policy across the continent, including as a reporter and editor at POLITICO Europe.
Rumbi Chakamba is an Associate Editor at Devex based in Botswana, who has worked with regional and international publications including News Deeply, The Zambezian, Outriders Network, and Global Sisters Report. She holds a bachelor's degree in international relations from the University of South Africa.
Catherine Cheney is a Senior Reporter for Devex. She covers the West Coast of the U.S., focusing on the role of technology, innovation, and philanthropy in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. And she frequently represents Devex as a speaker and moderator. Prior to joining Devex, Catherine earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Yale University, worked as a web producer for POLITICO and reporter for World Politics Review, and helped to launch NationSwell. Catherine has reported domestically and internationally for outlets including The Atlantic and the Washington Post. Outside of her own reporting, Catherine also supports other journalists to cover what is working, through her work with the Solutions Journalism Network.
Sara Jerving is a global health reporter at Devex. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Vice News, Bloomberg, The Nation magazine, among others. Sara holds a master's degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism where she was a Lorana Sullivan fellow.
Raj Kumar is a media leader and former humanitarian council chair for the World Economic Forum and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the author of the book "The Business of Changing the World," a go-to primer on the ideas, people, and technology disrupting the aid industry.
Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.